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By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE - Unemployed Rhode Islanders will be able to continue collecting unemployment insurance while they develop a plan to launch their own business with the assistance of a federal grant for the Self Employment Assistance Program, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced Wednesday afternoon.
The $159,000 grant awarded to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training will be used to launch the SEA program as an alternative path to reemployment, according to a press release from the governor.
Rhode Island is the first state to be awarded federal funds for this specific grant, although SEA programs are operating in other states.
“While SEA had been allowed for regular unemployment claimants since the mid-1990s under Rhode Island law, funding had not been available to prepare claimants to start their own business,” said state DLT Director Charles Fogarty.
The program is scheduled to launch in mid-March and unemployed residents who want to pursue an entrepreneurial path will be required to attend “reality check workshop.”
“We applied for this grant because we believe an active Self Employment Assistance program can increase the potential for the development of new businesses and new jobs in Rhode Island,” said Chafee.